License and Registration Suspensions in Georgia

License and Registration Suspensions in Georgia

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Drivers in Georgia must carry auto insurance to legally operate a vehicle. If you're caught driving without insurance or proof of insurance, you may face fines, license or registration suspension, jail time and more. If your license and registration are suspended due to lack of insurance, here are the steps to take to reinstate them.

Cost of driving without insurance in Georgia

Driving without insurance is considered a misdemeanor offense in Georgia, which would be permanently recorded on your criminal history. If you commit this offense, the DOR could impose the following penalties, in addition to the costs related to any accident or traffic violation.

Fines
Imprisonment
Registration Suspension
Fees
First and second offense$200–$1,000Up to 12 months60 days$25 lapse fee*

$60 reinstatement fee

Third or subsequent offense within five years$200–$1,000Up to 12 months90 days$25 lapse fee*

$160 reinstatement fee

*if applicable

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If you're caught driving a vehicle with a suspended registration, the DDS may suspend your license as well. If your license is suspended, you'll have to pay an additional $200 to $210 reinstatement fee for a first offense of driving without proof of insurance, and $300 to $310 for a second offense.

License or registration suspended for driving without insurance

In Georgia, it's mandatory to maintain a minimum level of liability auto insurance for as long as your vehicle is registered in your name. In fact, without proof of insurance, it is not possible to register a vehicle to your name.

Your insurance company will automatically update the state's insurance database within 30 days if you start or cancel a policy or allow it to lapse. The Department of Revenue (DOR) will cross-reference that information with your vehicle's registration status to enforce Georgia's mandatory insurance laws. Likewise, the Department of Driver Services (DDS) may suspend your driver's license if you're found to be without coverage.

There are at least three types of insurance-related penalty in Georgia, listed in order from least to most severe.

  • Driving with no proof of insurance
  • Allowing your insurance to lapse
  • Driving without insurance

Driving with no proof of insurance

If you are driving while insured, but you're unable to prove that you carry insurance when an officer requests documentation, you may be charged with driving without proof of insurance. This minor offense incurs a $25 fine from the DOR. On your court date, if you can prove that you were insured on the date of the incident, your fine may be waived.

Allowing your insurance to lapse

Since Georgia requires insurance companies to automatically update the state's electronic insurance database, the state's DOR and the DDS will know if your auto insurance policy lapses. If you allow your policy to lapse for more than 10 days, you'll receive a notice of pending suspension from the DOR ordering you to pay a $25 lapse fee. If you fail to pay this fee within 30 days, your vehicle's registration will be suspended, and you'll have to pay an additional fine to reinstate it.

However, it is also possible that you allowed your insurance to lapse because you no longer require auto insurance or your car was destroyed. In that case, you may avoid fees by submitting an "Application for Voluntary Registration Cancellation (Form MV-18J)" to your county tag office.

You may file this affidavit if:

  • Your vehicle was sold, repossessed or stolen.
  • Your vehicle ownership transferred to the insurer as the result of a total loss claim.
  • You didn't drive the vehicle during the time it was uninsured (for example, if it was in storage due to seasonal use).

How to reinstate your license or registration in Georgia

To reinstate your license or registration, you'll need to pay all fees associated with your suspension, such as the $25 lapse fee or a fine imposed due to a traffic violation. Additionally, you'll need to wait for your suspension period to finish. Once you've satisfied the requirements of your offense, you can begin the process to reinstate your driving privileges.

Reinstate your registration

To reinstate your registration, you'll need to prove that you've purchased a minimum six-month liability auto insurance policy.

We recommend comparing quotes from multiple insurers in Georgia that work with higher-risk drivers to ensure you're getting a good rate before purchasing a coverage.

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Next, you'll need to pay the registration reinstatement fee. The registration reinstatement fee is $60 for your first or second offense and $160 for your third or subsequent reinstatements. You may pay all lapse and reinstatement fees online or at your local county tag office. You'll need to supply the following information, found on your pending suspension or suspension letter.

  • Reference number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • File number
  • Name of the owner of the registered vehicle

Reinstate your license

Your license could be suspended for a number of reasons, including an excess of points or failure to appear in court. If your license was suspended for any of the following reasons, you'll need to pay the associated reinstatement fee in person or by mail.

Violation
Fee if Paid by Mail
Fee if Paid in Person
Child support non-compliance$25$35
DUI (first offense for age 21 and over)$200$210
Failure to appear (FTA)$90 You may also pay online.$100
No proof of insurance (first offense)$200$210
No proof of insurance (second offense)$300$310
Points violation (first offense)$200$210
Points violation (second offense$300$310
Points violation (third offense$400$410
Super Speeder$50, after the payment of a $200 Super Speeder fee. You may also pay online.
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To pay your license reinstatement fee, you need to provide the following documentation:

  • Your official notice of suspension, which was sent to you by the DDS.
  • Any additional documentation, such as a "DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction" certificate.
  • A check or money order payable to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) or a completed credit card authorization form.

If you no longer have your notice of suspension, include the following information with your payment.

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Driver's license number
  • Address
  • Social Security number

Send all of the above to the following address:

Department of Driver Services (DDS)

Validation Unit

P.O. Box 80447

Conyers, Georgia 30013

To pay your reinstatement fee in person, take the above documentation to your local county tag office.

Once your payment has been processed and you've proven that you carry adequate auto insurance, your license and registration will be reinstated. Committing multiple offenses within a five-year period will substantially increase the penalties associated with your violation. So you should aim to prevent future lapses in coverage for as long as a vehicle is registered in your name.

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Other causes for license and registration suspension

In addition to driving without insurance and insurance policy lapses, the Department of Driver Services (DDS) may suspend your license if you're convicted of any of the following offenses. The penalties associated with your offense may vary depending on which one you've committed. However, you'll still need to pay the fines outlined above to reinstate your license and registration.

  • Homicide by vehicle
  • Any felony committed while operating a motor vehicle
  • Using a motor vehicle to elude a police officer
  • Commiting a hit and run or otherwise fleeing the scene of an accident
  • Racing
  • Operating a vehicle while your registration is revoked, canceled or suspended
  • Refusing to take a chemical test in conjunction with a DUI arrest
  • Failure to respond or appear in court due to a traffic citation
  • Accumulating 15 points within 24 months, including violations committed out of state
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Daniel is a former Staff Writer at ValuePenguin, covering insurance, retirement and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote about compliance and best practices for K-12 school districts at Frontline Education.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.